The sixth series of The Apprentice (UK) contained some controversy early on: Before the series aired, it was reported that contestant Christopher Farrell was on bail for fraud, had been sacked from a previous mortgage company for misconduct and that in September 2009 he had admitted to two charges of possessing an offensive weapon. It was also reported that contestant Joanna Riley had been convicted for racially abusing three taxi drivers in October 2005 and it was also alleged that contestant Shibby Robati had received a formal warning from the General Medical Council for “unprofessional behaviour”.

The candidates were as follows:

Candidate Background Age
Alex Epstein Unemployed Head of Communications 26
Chris Bates Investment Banker 24
Christopher Farrell Mortgage Broker 28
Dan Harris Sales Director 34
Jamie Lester Overseas Property Developer 28
Joanna Riley Cleaning Company Owner 25
Joy Stefanicki Marketing Director 31
Laura Moore Business Development Manager 22
Liz Locke Investment Banker 24
Melissa Cohen Food Business Manager 27
Paloma Vivanco Senior Marketing Manager 30
Raleigh Addington Unemployed Graduate 22
Sandeesh Samra Recruitment Consultant 26
Shibby Robati Surgeon and Business Owner 26
Stella English Head of Business Management 30
Stuart Baggs Telecoms Entrepreneur 21

 

(Spoilers below)

 

Dan Harris was fired right off the bat after his dictatorial approach to managing, he immediately set a very macho tone. Raleigh jumped ship due to personal reasons (and I hope everything worked out for him). Outside of the top two contestants, who performed well, two other people really caught my eye; for very different reasons. Firstly, the absolutely mesmerizing Elizabeth “Liz” Locke, who reminded me of Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O in her style and grace, showed great salesmanship and skill. I was absolutely gob smacked when she was eliminated before several other, to my mind, weaker contestants. And then there is, of course, Stuart Baggs (the brand), the young, bullshitting quote-machine whose participation made him essentially unemployable. Legendary.

 

S6

One thing I’m getting really sick and tired of is this constant talk of stupidity, and waves upon waves of misanthropy. “People are stupid” and “I hate people” are dreadful statements to make if you aren’t making them in jest. Let me tell you why.

 

People are not stupid; depending upon your perspective the average person is one of these things:

- Average (compared to other people) <- This approach makes the most sense to me (Average = Average, tautalogies for the win)

- Really intelligent (compared to other primates)

- Really, really intelligent (compared to other mammals)

- Incredibly intelligent (compared to other chordates)

- Spectacularly intelligent (compared to all other forms of animal life)

You could also go so far as to compare to, say, a grain of sand or a patch of cabbages, but that might be stretching things.

 

People may be stupid based on your expectations, but all that says is that your expectations are wrong. The average person is, if you forgive my redundancy, average; nothing else. People may also be stupid based on your hopes and wishes, which doesn’t make any sense either; based on this logic, everyone could be called a blithering idiot if you wish everyone were forty-two times smarter than Stephen Hawking.

 

Also, this fad (at least I hope it’s a fad) of being proud of one’s social ineptitude is really weird to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite the homebody and there is no one whose company I am more comfortable in than my own. I only feel entirely relaxed when I am by my lonesome, and sometimes I feel like a fish out of water in any given social setting. To me, these are two separate concepts: the first part, being a homebody and a bit of a loner, is just a fact, a part of who I am. It’s neither good or bad, it’s just one of my facets. The other is, to me, a flaw: whenever I feel like I have an inability, be it permanent or temporary, big or small, it’s a flaw and something I work very hard on improving.

This weird glamorizing of social awkwardness and disdain for social settings is really peculiar to me, and I can only assume it’s something that is being perpetrated because of the internet and its appeal to recluses and social misfits. As much as I love recluses and social misfits, being one myself, it’s not something to be proud of and some people even seem to hail it as a superior way of living.

“OMG people are so stupid for going to clubs LOL bad music, people are, lyk, so conformist and I’m much too awesome so I’ll just sit at home and watch Netflix and look down on other people” is a dreadful way of looking at your fellow human beings. If you want to stay home and watch Netflix, stay home and watch Netflix. Don’t disparage those who choose differently just because you don’t share their inclinations. It’s like people who visit IMDb and head straight for the boards of movies and TV shows they hate just to spew their bile over the people who do enjoy it, all it does is create negativity and there is enough of that going around as it is. I’m not interested in embroidery, so I don’t do it. I’m not interested in the Twilight movies, so I don’t watch them. I’m not into the Goth scene, so I don’t go to Goth clubs. It really doesn’t have to be more difficult than that.

My favorite season of The Apprentice thus far, it had a lot of seemingly capable candidates and a few really interesting ones at that. The candidates were as follows:

 

Candidate Background Age
Anita Shah Business Strategist 35
Ben Clarke Trainee Stockbroker 22
Debra Barr Senior Sales Consultant 23
Howard Ebison Retail Business Manager 24
James McQuillan Senior Commercial Manager 32
Kate Walsh Licensing Development Manager 27
Kimberly Davis Marketing Consultant 33
Lorraine Tighe National Accounts Manager 36
Majid Nagra Business Development Manager 28
Mona Lewis Senior Financial Manager 28
Noorul Choudhury Science Teacher 33
Paula Jones Human Resources Consultant 29
Philip Taylor Estate Agent 29
Rocky Andrews Sandwich Chain Owner 21
Yasmina Siadatan Restaurateur 27

 

(Spoilers below)

 

A few contestants (Anita, Rocky, Majid, Kimberly, Noorul) left little impression on me but most were engaging or interesting. Fiery redhead Paula Jones was fired quite early on, which I thought was a shame, after she as a project manager blew it on costing when she and otherwise excellent candidate Yasmina Siadatan confused each other over essential oils to go in a perfume. Ben Clarke had a scholarship to Sandhurst. Lorraine had a great instinct, but was also quite annoying. Debra and Philip were both strong competitors but quite abrasive. Kate Walsh (and her smile) charmed most people, I think. Four women in the top four, a good record for women in business!

 

S5

A popular season of the Apprentice with many interesting contenders, this series was considerably less controversial than the preceding one. The candidates were as follows:

Candidate Background Age
Alex Wotherspoon Regional Sales Manager 24
Claire Young Senior Retail Buyer 28
Helene Speight Global Pricing Leader 32
Ian Stringer Software Sales Manager 26
Jennifer Maguire Marketing Consultant 27
Jenny Celerier Sales Manager 36
Kevin Shaw Bank Manager 24
Lee McQueen Recruitment Sales Manager 30
Lindi Mngaza Business Liaison Manager 22
Lucinda Ledgerwood Risk Manager 31
Michael Sophocles Telesales Executive 22
Nicholas de Lacy-Brown Trainee Barrister, Artist and Property Developer 23
Raef Bjayou Entrepreneur 27
Sara Dhada International Car Trader 25
Shazia Wahab Mosaic Artist and Company Director 35
Simon Smith Engineer 35

 

(Spoilers below)

Lucinda Ledgerwood was a charming contrast to most people on the show thus far, breaking the mold of business attire with her colorful outfits and berets, taking the soft approach to most situations. Claire was interesting to follow as I felt she grew quite a lot over the course of the season, and the suave Raef Bjayou was always entertaining. The funniest sequence of the series, however, came courtesy of Michael Sophocles whose application stated he was “a good Jewish boy”. Hilarity ensued when he then proved to not know what kosher was. My least favorite person this season was Jenny, who seemed to be a bit of a snake in the grass and who annoyed me quite a bit.

 

S4

The third season of The Apprentice (UK) was an entertaining one. Perhaps not the strongest season business-wise but it had some really interesting characters. The contestants were as follows:

Candidate Background Age
Adam Hosker Car Sales Manager 27
Andy Jackson Car Sales Manager 36
Gerri Blackwood Transport Development Manager 33
Ghazal Asif Business Development Manager 23
Iftikhar “Ifti” Chaudhri Company Director 36
Jadine Johnson Financial adviser 27
Katie Hopkins Global Brand Consultant 31
Kristina Grimes Pharmaceutical Sales Manager 36
Lohit Kalburgi Telecoms Manager 25
Naomi Lay Advertising Sales Manager 26
Natalie Wood Housewife 29
Paul Callaghan Ex-British Army Lieutenant 27
Rory Laing Bankrupt Entrepreneur 27
Simon Ambrose Internet Entrepreneur 27
Sophie Kain Quantum Physicist 32
Tre Azam Marketing and Design Consultant 27

 

(Spoilers below)

A controversial season for several reasons.

“Two candidates, Katie Hopkins and Paul Callaghan, started a romance while competing on the programme. This received much coverage from the tabloid press. This was one of the reasons that Callaghan was fired from the competition, as other candidates complained about the situation, saying that the relationship affected the performance of the team during the tasks.”

“Candidate Gerri Blackwood claimed that the allocation of showers in the house where the candidates stay appeared to have been manipulated in such a way as to force the female contestants to shower together. She told the Daily Star “One of the bathrooms was used by the film crew, but two of the others were closed off with ‘Out of Order’ signs on them. That left two bathrooms to share between 16 people. I am not sure whether it was deliberate or not but you can imagine they wanted us to share showers”. In her interview, she also claimed that Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford fed the candidates misleading information so that they would fail the tasks, and that Sir Alan Sugar’s boardroom diatribes were re-filmed to make them look better.[56][dead link] Fellow candidate Tre Azam also criticised the editing of the programme, claiming he was worried that his portrayal “might have been dumbed down because I made some of the other characters look too weak”.”

 

Kate Hopkins was, probably, the most controversial character so far to appear on the show, and is known for statements that are insensitive and classist and she has been in tons of feuds following her stint on the show.

 

S3